On Retitling My Novel After Publication

shutterstock_152047091My writing kryptonite is naming and titling people and things. From titling my book to naming my villian, I always have to go through an excruciating process that takes hours. I comb through the thesaurus, look up historical references, and poll family and friends. I’ll even admit to carrying around a scrap of paper on my purse full of scratched out titles. What sounds good to me one day sounds cheesy three days later. All that is to say that I’ve decided to retitle the first book in The Conjurors Series from Into the Dark to The Society of Imaginary Friends.

After I wrote the first book in The Conjurors Series, I never gave any thought to self publishing and promoting my novel. I put it on Amazon for the cheapest price they allowed so that my friends and family could read it if they wanted to. Then I promptly forgot about it and moved on with my writing. But after being inspired to finish my series and explore self publishing, I decided it needed a new title. There are roughly 1 billion books titled Into the Dark, and it was no surprise that mine didn’t make the first page of books listed in a search on Amazon or Google. Or the second.

It was time for a title change. This time, I put some real thought into the titles that made sense for my series. Guilds, where people can study various magical professions in the world I created, play a key role in connecting the story from book to book. It made sense to name each book in The Conjurors Series after the guild that played the primary role in that story. Because the Guild called The Society of Imaginary Friends kicks off my heroine’s adventure, it made sense as the title of the first book.

In addition to a new title, I have also invested in professional cover art and made some significant edits to The Society of Imaginary Friends, because my writing has come a long way in the two years since I wrote it. In the next couple of weeks I’ll unveil a new cover, and in November the updated novel and cover will go live.

Have you ever retitled or re-released one of your novels? If so, how did the process turn out for you?

5 thoughts on “On Retitling My Novel After Publication

  1. Thanks for the post. I haven’t rename my book yet, but I’ve thought about it. I didn’t give too much thought to it. My 10 year old son’s friend came up with the current title, Mason Davis and the Rise of the Storm Maker, but now I’m realizing that in this day and age a short title is best. Oops. Live and Learn. My son (now 13) and I are currently co-authoring the MG UF Mason Davis series. Maybe our next title will be shorter and include a subtitle. Not sure. Thoughts anyone? Short or long titles what’s better?

    • I actually love your title – it’s powerful and original. I did hear that the most successful books have short titles, four words or less. But tell that to the Harry Potter series.

  2. Hi Kristen,

    I read your article with interest and wonder if you could quickly advise me. I have a long 504 page novel which initially sold several hundred copies 10 years ago but I think needs to be retitled and possibly split in two.

    When you retitled your book, how much prominence did you give to the old book name. Did you market them almost as if they were brand new books just being published? I am wondering if it isn’t disingenuous to hype up the renamed book even if I do mention somewhere it is retitled.

    One last thing, would you mention on the cover that it is book 1 of 2 and 2 of 2?

    Thanks for any help you can offer.

    Best regards,


    • Hi Stephen,

      First, congratulations on your novel! Splitting it into two is a sound idea, especially if there is a natural break. As for retitling, I did mention on Amazon my book’s former title, but that was more so that the reviews that mentioned it by the old title made sense. I don’t think there’s anything disingenuous about retitling your book. If readers from 10 years ago buy it again, you can always reimburse them for their expense. It’s critical to have a title that is original enough to be searchable and isn’t lost in a pile of other books with the same title.

      As I’m marketing my book, I am definitely market it as energetically as if it is a new release. Anyone can see that it was published in 2011, but now that I know more about the self-publishing industry, I’m better able to strategically market my book, and I’m taking full advantage of all of the techniques I’ve learned.

      I personally don’t mention on the cover whether my book is book 1 of the series, though I think some authors certainly do. However, I do include the series name (The Conjurors Series) so readers know that it isn’t a standalone book. I’d recommend checking out other series that are selling well on Amazon and decide which technique makes the most sense for your books.

      I hope this helps, and feel free to reach out with questions any time.

      Best wishes,


      • Hi Kristen,

        thanks for your great reply. I agree with you, after some exposure to self publishing, there are several things I would now do differently.

        My book is 234K words so I think I will make a trilogy out of it which will help me raise my profile for future books too and I will advertise it as vigorously as I would with a new book too and just reference the old book on my Amazon page and blog.

        It’s interesting what you say about titles. I’m torn between having a theme for the trilogy in the title such as “Desert Lovers”, “Desert Warrior” or to have individual titles such as “The Messenger” which wouldn’t be so unique but perhaps more descriptive.

        Thanks for your help Kristen.

        Best wishes,


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